Fan’s lifetime dream is fulfilled
FLORENCE, S.C. – Jeanette Goode got to experience the wish of a lifetime Sunday afternoon at the Bojangles Southern 500.
Goode attended the 2018 running of the race for the first time through the Wish of a Lifetime program that fullfills the wishes of seniors to increase the views and value of aging.
“[It’s] the fulfillment of a long, long dream [to attend the race],” Goode said Sunday afternoon in the media center. “Since I was about 12 years old, I wanted to come to Darlington during the [Southern] 500.”
Goode said her wish developed as she worked with her father on Labor Day. Her mother did not like racing so, they listened outside as they cleaned the family car and carport.
She said she was surprised when she found out she would be attending Sunday’s race, and she never thought about her wish being granted. She found out at her home at the Brookdale Southside Drive location in Greenville. Brookdale is an assisted living facility.
After getting her credentials, Goode was treated to a question-and-answer session with NASCAR Hall of Famers Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin. Wallace is the 1989 Winston Cup Series champion and is remembered as the long-time driver of the No. 2 Miller sponsored Penske Racing car. Martin is remembered as the pilot of the No. 6 Roush Racing Ford. Martin won the Southern 500 in 1993 and 2009.
Martin and Wallace signed the shoulders of her shirt during the question-and-answer session.
“Now I got to find a way to make it [the drivers’ signatures] permanent so I can wash the shirt,” Goode added.
After eating in the media center, Goode took in the dirvers’ meeting, the pre-race concert by Clay Walker and the race.
She added that her favorite driver in her early years of NASCAR watching and listening was Edward Glenn “Fireball” Roberts.
Roberts is a legendary NASCAR racer who won the first two Firecracker 250s and the 1962 Daytona 500. Roberts died in 1964 of complications from a crash during the World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Goode said she was “leaning” toward Kevin Harvick as her favorite driver. Harvick drives the No. 4 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing. She added that she was still trying to determine a favorite driver from the younger drivers entering the Monster Energy Cup Series but was having a tough time because they were all such good drivers.
She said her favorite race of all-time was the 1989 Daytona 500 that Bobby Allison won over his son, Davey. Bobby Allison still is the oldest person to have won the Daytona 500.
“I told my daddy, ‘See, Grandpa had to show ‘em how to drive,’” Goode said.
Goode added that her favorite Southern 500 memory was the 2017 race, because one of her favorite bands, the Oakridge Boys, performed the national anthem.